Commerce City, Colo. - Conor Casey took another step towards returning to action today. The Rapids' all-time leading scorer participated in his first full training session this morning since tearing his left Achilles tendon in a game in Seattle last July.
"It's been a long time," Casey said afterwards. "It's been nine months now, so it just feels really good to be out there playing again. I played neutral and got to get out there and run around with the guys a little bit. I got some touches on the ball and started to get some of that game-like fitness in."
Count coach Oscar Pareja and his teammates as others that were glad to see Casey back at training,
"Everybody was excited and happy," Pareja said. "He brought something special to the training atmosphere. Seeing Conor not just dressing but being part of the session - it was a great day."
Throughout the preseason, Casey has been limited to mostly jogging around the field and working on other fitness or agility drills - which don't compare to playing.
"There's a big difference," he said. "For one, it's a lot more fun chasing a ball than just chasing air. And, two, it goes by a lot quicker. (But) It's also harder - a lot of back and forth movement - so it's good to get those kinds of reactions back."
It's still too early to know when Casey, who has scored 48 goals in 101 games for the Rapids, will be activated to play a game. For now, he wants to continue progressing.
"Today was the first day, so we'll see how my body feels and we'll take it from there," he said. "I still have a good couple weeks, if not more, to get that game fitness back."